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North Pacific Fishery Management Council

North Pacific Fisheries Management Council

The North Pacific Fisheries Management Council (NPFMC) is one of eight regional councils established by the Magnuson Fishery Conservation and Management Act in 1976 (which has been renamed the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act) to oversee management of the nation’s fisheries. With jurisdiction over the 900,000-square mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) off Alaska, the Council has primary responsibility for groundfish management in the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) and Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (BSAI), including cod, pollock, flatfish, mackerel, sablefish and rockfish species harvested mainly by trawlers, hook and line, longliners and pot fishermen.

The Council also makes allocation and limited entry decisions for halibut, though the U.S. – Canada International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) is responsible for conservation of halibut. Other large Alaska fisheries such as salmon, crab and herring are managed primarily by the State of Alaska.

Halibut Allocation

The allocation of halibut at the NPFMC has been a long-standing dispute between guided sport charter operators in the recreational sector and the commercial longliners in the seafood sector. With a two fish daily bag limit, halibut are a main draw for guided and unguided saltwater anglers. Current discussion focuses on harvest limits for the guided sport charter operators, with a variety of measures to restrict harvest levels by guided anglers including a reduced bag limit of one fish per day. In Southcentral and Southeast Alaska, roughly 20% of removals of halibut are by guided and unguided anglers, while the remaining 80% is taken predominately for commercial use in the seafood industry.

Halibut By-Catch

The NPFMC is evaluating measures to limit halibut  bycatch in the Bering Sea pollock fishery.  Halibut and pollock are both important fisheries for Alaska. Halibut support large and critically important commercial, recreational, and subsistence fisheries throughout Alaska and elsewhere, and are the basis of a cultural tradition in many parts of the state. At the same time, the commercial pollock fishery produces significant revenue for the State of Alaska, and participation in the fishery (through royalties and employment) is important for the western Alaska Community Development Quota communities.

Halibut are caught unintentionally in the offshore Bering Sea pollock trawl fishery, and may not be kept. Despite bycatch control measures implemented in the halibut fishery since the mid-1990s,  Halibut bycatch has increased substancially over time. For Chinook by-catch it has ranged from an average of 35,000 bycatch in the 1990’s to the historic high of 122,000 in 2007. Chum salmon bycatch have measured consistently in the hundreds of thousands.  The North Pacific Fishery Management Council is required by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act to balance minimizing salmon bycatch, to the extent practicable, with achieving optimal yield from the pollock fisheries.

Salmon  By-catch

The NPFMC is evaluating measures to limit Chinook and chum salmon bycatch in the Bering Sea pollock fishery.  Salmon and pollock are both important fisheries for Alaska. Salmon support large and critically important commercial, recreational, and subsistence fisheries throughout Alaska and elsewhere, and are the basis of a cultural tradition in many parts of the state. At the same time, the commercial pollock fishery produces significant revenue for the State of Alaska, and participation in the fishery (through royalties and employment) is important for the western Alaska Community Development Quota communities.

Salmon are caught unintentionally in the offshore Bering Sea pollock trawl fishery, and may not be kept. Despite bycatch control measures implemented in the pollock fishery since the mid-1990s, Chinook and Chum salmon bycatch has increased substancially over time. For Chinook by-catch it has ranged from an average of 35,000 bycatch in the 1990’s to the historic high of 122,000 in 2007. Chum salmon bycatch have measured consistently in the hundreds of thousands.  The North Pacific Fishery Management Council is required by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act to balance minimizing salmon bycatch, to the extent practicable, with achieving optimal yield from the pollock fisheries.

 

Issues Affecting You

SEAGO participates in the public process of the NPFMC primarily on three issues:

  1. Halibut Allocation to the recreational fisheries.
  2. Halibut By-Catch in the Bering Sea Pollock fishery.
  3. Salmon By-Catch in the Bering Sea pollock fishery.

It is important for charter and lodge owners, our clients, our supporters and the communities our fishing dollars support to be aware of the actions being proposed at the NPMFC and to TAKE ACTION when necessary. Check back here to follow the happenings at NPMFC and for opportunities to get involved by writing letters or testifying.

June 6-14 / Kodiak, AK

 

  • Electronic Monitoring: Review of analytical components (SSC only)
  • Observer Program Annual Report, OAC report, and Variance estimation methodology (SSC only)
  • GOA Trawl Bycatch Management
  • Tanner crab custom processing cap
  • BSAI Crab
  • Squid to Ecosystem Component Category
  • Research Priorities
  • P. Cod assessment models
Oct. 3-11 / Anchorage, AK
  • Stock Assessment 101 Training
  • Observer Program
  • EM Integration
  • Area 4 Halibut IFQ Leasing: Initial Review (T)
  • Halibut/sablefish IFQ Program 10-year Review: Review Draft
  • BSAI Halibut Abundance-based PSC: Discussion paper
  • Halibut DMRs methodology: Discussion paper
Dec. 6-14 / Anchorage, AK

40-year Anniversary Celebration Banquet!

  • Charter Halibut RQE Program: Final Action
  • 2017 Charter halibut management measures: Final action
  • Groundfish Harvest Specifications: Final specifications
  • Squid to Ecosystem Component Category: Final Action
  • Essential Fish Habitat Descriptions: Review updated report; Identify EFH